Ma’afu, Ghiraldini, Sunwolves, Champions And Challenge Cup, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

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Salesi Ma'afu
Salesi Ma’afu

NEW YORK, NY – There is almost no time left on the calendar before 2016 rolls around. However, there action this past weekend, one of the final weekend’s of the year, to cover. We will review the action from the European Champions and Challenge Cup. There is also important news and transactions that we will cover.With that said, lets dive into the  Global Rugby Recap.

News & Transactions:

Leonardo Ghiraldini
Leonardo Ghiraldini

Aviva Premiership: According to Northampton head coach Jim Mallinder, the RFU has done it again. Mallinder says the club is “in the dark” about the future of assistant coach Alex King amid talks of England being interested. “As a club, we’ve had no official contact at all so we’re in the dark. As a club we’ve had no formal approach. It’s disappointing,” he revealed.

Pro 12: Salesi Ma’afu has been signed by Cardiff Blues after he was released by Toulon following a conviction for assault.

Top 14: Toulouse announced the signing of Italy international hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, who has agreed to a three-year contract… Clermont’s veteran second-row Jamie Cudmore will leave the club at the end of the season, the club has confirmed.

Hammett is laughing at being selected as head coach again.
Hammett is laughing at being selected as head coach again.

Super Rugby: South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins has revealed that he and Golden Lions president Kevin de Klerk told the Stormers not to appoint John Mitchell as their head coach… Japan’s new Super Rugby franchise, the Sunwolves, will be coached by former Hurricanes boss Mark Hammett. The team’s squad, kit and head coach were revealed at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. For the squad list, including USA Eagle Andrew Durutalo click here.

USA Rugby: Interim Head Coach JD Stephenson and the coaching staff of the AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans have called on 52 under-20-eligble athletes to attend the Winter Camp at Casa Grande Academy Saturday, Dec. 19, through Tuesday, Dec. 22. The MJAAs will play Canada‘s under-20 representative in Austin, Texas, Feb. 13, 2016, alongside the Men’s Eagles’ home Americas Rugby Championship match against the border rival’s senior side. The winner of the one-off match will qualify for the World Rugby U20 Trophy, set for Zimbabwe in April. Click here for the full squad squad list.

World Rugby: All Blacks technical coach Mick Byrne is set to leave the New Zealand international rugby environment, it was confirmed by the NZRU... Uruguay, are in the process of making several changes to their national structure World Rugby Logobeginning with the hiring of a group of between eight and 10 players to play for Uruguay, a large schedule of games for new teams to be created, a renewed role for head coach Pablo Lemoine within the structure and a new coach for the national team… Hong Kong booked their place at next year’s World Rugby U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe, after winning the Asia Rugby U19 Championship for the third year running. Hong Kong join Samoa, who were relegated from the World Rugby U20 Championship 2015, hosts Zimbabwe, Namibia, Spain, Uruguay and Fiji in the eight-team tournament. The winner of the North American qualifier will be determined on Feb 13, as previously mentioned…. There were wins for the Brazilian women’s team and Argentina’s men at this weekend’s international beach rugby event on the world famous Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro.

The weekend’s fixtures:

Ladies first,
The Hong Kong women’s team is doing an end of the year tour of Spain. The Spanish beat Hong Kong  in Madrid to sweep the first ever series between the two teams. Spain beat Hong Kong 59-12 in the opening match on 15 December.

Here are the results:
Sat – 19 Dec 2015
Spain 57-0 Hong Kong

European Champions Cup: Round 4 of pool stages of the European (Rugby) Champions Cup is over. The matches in this round helped some teams wrap up qualification for the quarters while others managed to stay in the race. Our Ronan Nelson will have a fantastic review of the round, later this week.

European_Rugby_Challenge_Cup_LogoEuropean Challenge Cup: The second tier European Challenge Cup is a quality tournament in its own right. Even if it id played by mid-table European clubs, they play good rugby and are looking to move up to the Champions Cup. The weekend begun with Gloucester defeating Aviva Premiership rivals Worcester and Montpellier scrapped by the skin of its teeth against Cardiff. On Friday, Grenoble won a shootout against Top 14 rival Agen and Edinburgh edged by London Irish. On Saturday, Zebre managed a big upset La Rochelle and Brive took down Russian side Enisey-STM, Sale won easily against Castres, Quins ran a live scrimmage against Calvisano and finally Pau  shockingly fell to Newport-Gwent. The final match of the weekend saw Connacht fall had on the road to Newcastle.

Here are the results:
Thu – 17 Dec 2015
Gloucester 27-13 Worcester Warriors
Montpellier 23-22 Cardiff Blues
Fri – 18 Dec 2015
Grenoble 48-45 Agen
Edinburgh 18-15 London Irish
Sat – 19 Dec 2015
Zebre 25-5 La Rochelle
Brive 33-3 Enisey-STM
Sale Sharks 31-10 Castres
Harlequins 59-7 Calvisano
Pau 17-34 Newport Gwent Dragons
Sun – 20 Dec 2015
Newcastle Falcons 29-5 Connacht

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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at